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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not be pushed to Saudi Arabia with Arsenal facing the prospect of having to cover a large slice of the striker’s wages to offload him in the final week of the transfer window.
Arsenal outcast Aubameyang has interest from six European clubs, but it is unlikely that any of them would be able to cover the entirety of his wages that are worth up to £350,000-a-week.
Al Hilal and Al Nassr have made offers to take Aubameyang on loan for the rest of the season and cover his wages, but the Gabon international is not interested in a move to Saudi Arabia and remains ambitious.
That is a blow to Arsenal, who were keen for one of the Saudi moves to materialise so that Aubameyang could go without the threat of leaving the club with egg on their faces.
Following checks in London last week, Aubameyang has received the medical all clear and is training again on his own at Arsenal after having to return early from the Africa Cup of Nations.
AC Milan, Sevilla, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Barcelona have all expressed an interest in Aubameyang, with Arsenal now having to decide whether or not they are prepared to send the 32-year-old on loan in Europe.
That would also likely require Arsenal to part-fund Aubameyang’s wages for the rest of the season and accept that he could provoke criticism of the club if he performs well in Serie A, La Liga or Ligue 1.
The likelihood of some of the European clubs making a firm move for Aubameyang is also dependent on other deals. Juventus are interested in Arsenal target Dusan Vlahovic, PSG want to offload Mauro Icardi and Barca are also keen on Alvaro Morata.
Arsenal have scored one goal in their last five games, not winning any of them and slipping to sixth in the Premier League table, during a difficult January in which Aubameyang's exile has continued.
A deal for Fiorentina striker Vlahovic this month now looks unlikely, with the long-term futures of Alexandre Lacazette, who missed a golden chance in the goalless draw against Burnley, and Eddie Nketiah also uncertain.